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October 10, 2005

Harriet Miers: cheers, Jeers and fears

The multi-level aspect of American politics has never been more clear than in the debate over the qualification of Bush's recent Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers. The old ruse of a two-dimensional political spectrum has fallen apart, once again, to expose the vast differences between the various “camps” that make up the American political landscape.

Unfortunately, even what would be recognizable groups to those who would have accepted a more three-dimensional view of American politics has fallen apart as well. Let's start with my own position and view. I'm a Republican, Evangelical Christian, so I would fall into what many call the “Social Conservative Camp” but those who are generally recognized as the key spokesmen for that “camp” are endorsing, albeit, perhaps hesitantly, the nomination of Harriet Miers, while I see it as a failure of the Bush administration.

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, has already endorsed Harriet Miers, but then days later voiced his uncertainties about that endorsement. Pat Robertson has also eagerly endorsed her nomination, and out today is a story of a pastor in Dallas soliciting prayers for her upcoming confirmation hearings. The Christian Coalition has also made her confirmation an issue they are supporting. I have to wonder if many of my fellow Christians are not falling into the fateful error that so many Black Americans fall into—endorsement based on a single demographic criteria. The Democrat party, in spite both its history and current policies of blatant racism, enjoy the blind support of the majority of Black Americans. Here in Tulsa that mind set is never more prominent than in the way election signs are done in the various communities. In all but one section of town, campaign posters contain a recognizable design that informs the passersby of the candidates name, the race he or she is running in and possibly a quick note of their position on an issue. When I ran for the state senate I was warned not to put my picture on the campaign sign, because it distracted from the important message of associating my name with the specific political race. (No, it wasn't just my face, it was a general rule) But, they added, that rule didn't apply in some neighborhoods. And as anyone could see, driving through North Tulsa, the part of town the majority of Black Tulsans have voluntarily chosen to segregate themselves into, candidates put their face on their campaign signs, because they know the single most important issue that voters in those neighborhoods will base their vote on, is the race of the candidate. Obviously something that can quickly be shown by a photo of the candidate's face.

For the most part Christians who run for office include their faith as a part of their qualification and don't emphasize it as the leading qualification—mostly because as a group composed of people who have chosen to belong to that group, claiming to be a Christian is no guarantee one is. And there's were we find ourselves with Harriet Miers. She says she's a Christian, and a fellow church member has regaled us with her conversion story as well as her membership in their church, but when we look at her recent history we see the kind of thin veneer that is adopted by many who “embrace” Christianity as merely another thing to toss on to their resume—just as Islam is a convenient thing to belong to in the Middle East and Judaism in Israel. Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming Miers is lying about her faith, just that we have little evidence of it beyond her church membership, and I don't know about you, but I've seen more than enough pew sitters that are as lost as a goose.

There's an old question that used to be asked in the churches I attended, but I haven't heard mentioned much lately. It goes: If Christianity were outlawed today—would there be enough evidence to convict you?

I have a feeling Dobson and Robertson and the others who presume Miers' veneer of faith goes deeper than is visible, may be jumping the gun. I understand their thinking. The anti-Christian Left fight so vigorously against any person of sincere faith who has a chance at a position of power, we should defend them whenever possible. But that's actually another problem with Miers' nomination—the usual crowd of Christian haters either support her or are oddly silent.

Democrat Senator Tom Harkin, who called religious conservatives like James Dobson “our home-grown Taliban.” has said about the opposition to Miers' nomination, “All the trashing is coming from the right wing of the Republican Party. I really think it's despicable what they're doing.”

Democrat Barbara Mikulski, who was given a 0% rating by the Christian Coalition joined in with, “They're saying a woman who was one of the first to head up a major law firm with over 400 lawyers doesn't have intellectual heft. I find this a double standard.” (Unless she can show where a man, appointed to the Supreme Court with the same lack of qualification was accepted, then she's simply blowing hot air)

So why are the rabidly anti-Christian Left offering either support or silence on Miers' nomination? Of course we've all seen and heard how the bulk of Conservatives are reacting. They are seriously disappointed. (To me it's almost as if Bush got ticked off because of the criticism of John Roberts' lack of solid stand on issues with a sarcastic, “Oh, yeah, well take this!” and handed us Harriet Miers.)

I'm disappointed with Bush, but I'm also disappointed with leaders among social Conservatives who seem to place the remote possibility of a Christian Supreme Court justice before the reality that we have been burned repeatedly but Supreme Court nominees who appeared to be one thing, and later to our utter regret, turned out to be something much, much different.

Around the Blogosphere...

PoliPundit.com » Harriet Miers Must not be Confirmed
PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Fund on Miers
PoliPundit.com » Fund on Miers
The Volokh Conspiracy » Miers and Roe:
The Anchoress » Captain Ed in WaPo on Miers
PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » On Defending Miers
The Anchoress » Roundup: Miers bad for everyone?
The Volokh Conspiracy » Half of GOP Senators Doubt Miers:
Patterico’s Pontifications » Yes, Harriet Miers Is a Part of Bush’s Legal Team — And That’s Yet Another Concern
PoliPundit.com » The Sexism Charge
Stop The ACLU » Democrats to force Dobson to testify?
Patterico’s Pontifications » Specter Should Subpoena Dobson and Rove
PoliPundit.com » With Friends Like These
Patterico’s Pontifications » Thank You, You Motherthanker

Posted by Danny Carlton at October 10, 2005 07:21 AM

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I believe that a much more important problem than Miers nomination is here

If the right side of the blogosphere does not come back together, both on the Miers matter, and on the one I mentioned, then we are going to lose the Senate in 2006, and Hillary is going to be in the White House in 2008, and I guarantee you that when you see the nominees she is able to place on the court, you will wish they had been more like Harriet Miers.

Posted by: Don Singleton at October 10, 2005 11:53 AM

In 1996, George (Trust Me) Bush learned the hard way it is a mistake to try to remove the anti-abortion plank in the GOP platform. He sent a messenger to the Resolutions (Platform) Committee of the Texas State Republican Convention asking that the pro-life plank not be included in the platform. It was voted for unanimously. As a result, Bush was denied the privilege of leading his own delegation to National Convention because too many delegates did not trust him on the pro-life issue.

Many Republicans believed that Mr. Bush would be naming people of a more conservative bent to the U.S. Supreme Court. Before making such a supposition, it would be a good idea to look at Mr. Bush’s track record. He had signed a bill naming a highway after an infamous abortionist from Houston, John B. Coleman, who, among other things, faced medical malpractice lawsuits involving abortions at the time of his death. There were many excuses given for his signature on the bill, but the fact remains that President Bush had promised not to sign it.

Was it just pandering to the pro-choice vote that had him comment, when visiting New Jersey, that he couldn't wait to campaign with Christine Todd Whitman not only in New Jersey but all over America. As the governor of New Jersey she consistently stood with the pro-abortion, feminist lobby and even vetoed the partial birth abortion ban passed by the New Jersey legislature.

While Governor of Texas, President Bush also appointed Martha Hill Jamison to the 164th District Court in Houston. Mrs. Jamison is the daughter of former Democratic Attorney General, John Hill, and had just recently turned Republican. She was still a supporter of Planned Parenthood and the Gay and Lesbian political caucus.

In Texas when a Supreme Court place is vacated during mid-term, the governor may appoint someone to fill that spot until the next election. Bush appointed four members to that court. Texas law required that parents be notified prior to the performance of an abortion on a minor. In March, the Texas Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision refused to uphold a decision by a lower court ruling that a 17 year old girl is not mature enough to make an abortion decision without notifying her parents. Three of the votes vacating the decision were from Bush’s four appointments to the Texas Supreme Court. They were instrumental in virtually nullifying the parental notification law which Mr. Bush proclaimed that he supported. Are we supposed to believe that his current choices for the Supreme Court will be any better?

Posted by: Carol Saunders at October 11, 2005 07:07 AM

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